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NCAA Frozen Four: UMD's Shepard, Perunovich named All-Americans

Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com Minnesota Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard stops a shot on goal Wednesday during practice sessions for the NCAA Frozen Four at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. 1 / 2
t041219 --- Clint Austin ---041319.S.DNT.FROZENFOUR.C40 --- Cale Makar with the University of Massachusettes accepts the Hobey Baker Award during Friday Night at the Frozen Four at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. ---- Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com2 / 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Minnesota Duluth's Hunter Shepard didn't win the Mike Richter Award that goes to the top college hockey goaltender in the nation on Friday, but the junior did join Richter winner Cayden Primeau of Northeastern on the American Hockey Coaches Association All-America first team.

Shepard, the Cohasset native who will backstop the Bulldogs in Saturday night's NCAA Division I championship game against Massachusetts, was named to the West first team after a season in which he has posted a 1.80 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 41 games.

Primeau was the East first-team goalie.

UMD sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich of Hibbing was named to the West second team, one of six NCHC members honored on the first or second team. Perunovich has three goals and 26 assists this season.

Makar wins Hobey Baker

It was not a shocker.

St. Cloud State's Jimmy Schuldt was on the stage with Harvard's Adam Fox and Massachusetts' Cale Makar on Friday at the HarborCenter. The trio of defensemen were finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is given annually to the nation's top men's hockey player.

While Schuldt was the lone returning top-10 finalist, he was not surprised when Makar was named the winner of the award. Makar, the No. 4 overall draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2017, has led the Minutemen to their first NCAA Division I championship game.

Schuldt had a feeling he would not win, but did have a speech in his coat pocket "just in case."

"I think that Adam and I both knew that he's the guy," Schuldt said of Makar winning the honor. "He's been unbelievable all year. To have his team improve that much and be the fourth overall draft pick ... it's good for college hockey. You watch him play and he deserves it."

The season before Makar joined UMass, the Minutemen were 5-29-2. His freshman season, he had 21 points and the Minutemen went 17-20-2. This season, he led Hockey East in scoring and has 16 goals, 49 points and is a plus-33 in 40 games. Massachusetts (31-9-0) plays UMD (28-11-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday at KeyBank Center for the national title.

"It's just an amazing time for the program and it's going to be fun," said Makar, UMass' first Hobey Baker winner.

Makar also talked about all three Hobey Baker finalists being defensemen. Makar is the second defenseman in three years (Will Butcher, Denver, 2017) to win the honor, fifth since 2000 and eighth defenseman overall to win the award, which has been given since 1981.

"The game is evolving," said Makar, the Hockey East Player of the Year. "These are two great individuals and players (in Fox and Schuldt) and I'm very honored to win this award. Honestly, those two guys could have very easily won this award as well. Three defensemen in the finalists is pretty cool to see."

Forum News Service contributed to this report.

2019 Award Winners

Hobey Baker Award (top player) — Cale Makar, Massachusetts

Mike Richter Award (top goalie) — Cayden Primeau, Northeastern

Hockey Humanitarian Award — Jake Bunz, Wisconsin

AHCA All-America Teams

West First Team

Hunter Shepard, Minnesota Duluth; Quinn Hughes, Michigan; Jimmy Schuldt, St. Cloud State; Taro Hirose, Michigan State; Patrick Newell, St. Cloud State; Rem Pitlick, Minnesota.

West Second Team

Joey Daccord, Arizona State; Jack Ahcan, St. Cloud State; Bobby Nardella, Notre Dame; Scott Perunovich, Minnesota Duluth; Mason Jobst, Ohio State; Blake Lizotte, St. Cloud State; Troy Loggins, Northern Michigan.

East First Team

Cayden Primeau, Northeastern; Adam Fox, Harvard; Cale Makar, Massachusetts; Mitchell Chafee, Massachusetts; Ryan Kuffner, Princeton; Nico Sturm, Clarkson.

East Second Team

Andrew Shortridge, Quinnipiac; Jeremy Davies, Northeastern; Joseph Duszak, Mercyhurst; Blake Christensen, American International College; David Colton, Boston College; Josh Wilkins, Providence.